Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Time Machine

Summer is zipping by faster than a speeding bullet, it seems. Part of my perception has to do with the many moons I've spent in this body, but I also believe that because this summer has been so perfect in terms of weather, it seems in some way that spring never ended. This morning, for instance, cool and soft, but not humid, with a gentle breeze and bright blue skies, could easily be an early June day - well - except that the roses are way past their peak, the migrating birds are long gone, and the tough late summer flowers are all out in force. Usually those flowers, like marigolds, black eyed susans and other daisy varieties, plus sunflowers, etc. have nasty heat and humidity to push up against. This year, it's all so easy. Am I imagining that they look kind of bored this year?

Summer has been smooth and pleasant for me, so unlike the churning and flopping around I usually experience, especially in August. There have not been exceptional highs this summer, but no exceptional lows either. I am not complaining.

One minor disappointment was Natalie Angier's book The Canon. From what I heard about it, I believed her book would be a great way to come to a deeper understanding of the sciences. Turns out the rumors I heard were not true. Angier is as bad as the woman who wrote Eat, Pray, Love in terms of her narcissism. She finds her own experiences while interviewing scientists, her own history with science, so darling that she can't help but tell us all about herself while slipping in a few facts about science, a few quotes from the scientists themselves, between her vignettes. She loves her cute metaphors so so so much. In every sentence she is compelled to show us how adorable she is.


She insulted me, too, by insisting first that all questions in science are open questions, but then saying that the idea of an objective reality that exists outside the perception of all of us, is not an open question. She goes on to ridicule anyone stupid enough to believe in mystery and magic.

Oh well, a bad book is hardly worth a second thought especially as I cruise through summer 2008, riding in the flesh and blood time machine of this particular incarnation, surrounded as I am by beauty, wonder, the love of friends and family, and all the untold mysteries that keep life interesting.

A salute to life, to the weather gods of this summer in this place, and much gratitude, too. L'chaim!

My favorite way to encounter the Capitol, from in front of the Summerhouse, a brick water garden with a grotto, fountains and benches. The Summerhouse is one of the most healing locations in DC. I love the way the Capitol looks so regal from this angle.


d. chedwick said...

My sig. other read Gilbert's book and loved it, so he passed it on to me. i learned some valuable things from it and found Gilbert to be totally likable and she talked about her flaws too. I didn't find her narcissistic. But then I enjoy reading memoirs etc... and like little details. I read Gilbert's book in one sitting --while sitting outdoors. A good experience. I still remember passages that changed my way of thinking (little things, but it's all about little things) ---have not read the other book and doubt I will.

Reya Mellicker said...

I gave up on Eat, Pray, Love after page 136. The pattern of the book was set: she's a whiner, but oh so darling, and her life is oh so filled with oh so AMAZING experiences! Oh so!

So ... boring! At least to me.

Merle Sneed said...

My summer has been relatively smooth also. The best part of the summer is that it has bee a relatively cool one.

Adrianne said...

Sounds as if Angier's book was really a sort of memoir dressed up as a book about science. I recently read two memoirs -- The Glass Castle and The Spiral Staircase -- and afterward found myself wondering if maybe a certain amount of narcissism is to be expected of people who choose to publish the story of their life for public consumption. I found the narcissism displayed by Jeannette Walls in The Glass Castle particularly stifling, although I know a lot of people who really enjoyed that book. Eat, Pray, Love recenlty was recommended to me highly and is at the top of my reading list -- it'll be particurly interesting to read it in light your and D. Chedwick's comments.

Barbara said...

I loved Eat, Pray, Love. But it's one of those books you either love or hate. I've only met two haters, but they were vehement about it. I found her story to be compelling and extremely human. Granted that not just anyone could spend a year traveling around the world without a significant advance of funds, but for me that did not detract in the least from how she used her time and what she learned about herself in the process. And she does have excellent taste in pizza!

suicide_blond said...

and i thought i was the ONLY one who didnt like eat pray live...
my friends looked at me like i had three heads when i dared say so! then...i'm not known for having patience with narcissism or anything too

Gary said...


This summer for me has been quite the experience. Stressful but also empowering in a way. My perceptions are changing, expanding, deepening as I explore mind, body, soul connections - connections that involve the oneness of all creation. A particular peace comes with this acceptance and an awareness of universal consciousness. Through all of this I find a desire to sit and chat with you long into the night as we sip wine. If life is not about learning, pondering and questioning then I have no idea what it is all about.

tut-tut said...

Let's form a "we hated eat, love, pray" support group. I couldn't STAND all that whining. But so many people loved it, as you say. Can't see it.

Liked Jincy Willett's The Writing Group, an acerbic sense of humor. Goes on a bit, but still interesting and fun, especially if you've ever been part of such a group.

I haven't read much of The Canon at this point, but I haven't noticed the author insinuating herself as much as you have. Will report back.

Reya Mellicker said...

Maybe I should have skipped the first couple of chapters and gone straight to the chapter of Physics. Dang, man.

I left the book in the bathroom at Teaism in Penn Quarter. Sometimes, when a book is awful (IMO) I have to get rid of it ASAP!

I tried to like Eat, Pray, Love because so many people loved it for all the reasons Barbara mentioned, so human, etc.

Taste is unique to the taster. To me, it was a terrible book, to others, a great book.

Can scientists really believe there's an objective reality that stands outside our perception? C'mon! It's not a logical conclusion.

Dizzy said...

lovely memories of sitting in the water garden grotto with you dear reya.

deborah said...

totally with you on eat pray
and Gary's post moved me
as my summer seems much like his
except for omnipresent stress
which I'm attempting to see as
something I must love
because it is so much a part
of almost every day. . .

cloud watching sounds just right

with all my love,

lettuce said...


sorry for my no doubt confusing comment yesterday, that was me on dizzy's computer....

this is me being more careful